At Tru Talent, we are truly lucky to be immersed within a community of experts. Each individual has their own talent, opinion and knowledge. We decided that instead of writing what we thought of the world and the industries we all work in, why don’t we ask them?

This has part of our series of Q&A style articles that we hope will inspire you, educate you, and or empower you.

We spoke to Lee Hill the Managing Director at Insightful UX about the definition of User Experience and getting into the industry.

Tru Talent: What is your name and your role?

Lee: Lee Hill MD Founder of Insightful UX Ltd

Tru Talent: What does user experience really mean?

Lee: For me user experience is about figuring out a way to help people utilise things better, when it comes to our clients this is websites and the products and services they offer.

Tru Talent: What are the most common mistakes with websites and apps that people make?

Lee: The most common issue we see is that websites are built based on the assumptions that the business owners, marketing people, designers and developers know best, instead of finding out from the end users i.e. potential customers how best to develop a website for them. Its scary, we often see the slightest assumption made when building a website can have grave consequences to how it is then used by real customers. We see this all too frequently unfortunately. This means that a website that could be amazing for a business may be failing, due to a few small snags that nobody understands or is aware of. We love spotting and fixing these things as the commercial gains for our clients are often incredible.

Tru Talent: Your business has expanded and developed dramatically since you started, could you tell us a little bit about this journey?

Lee: It’s been fun, emotional, scary, hard, enjoyable and immensely rewarding. Year one was me working full time whilst Chris my co-director worked behind the scenes, by year two Chris and I started to expand the team with George Beverley joining us as a director. Year three has been us really trying to find our place in the market. Its been really hard, but we are now setting the foundations that I feel will see us grow and more importantly be able to service our clients with a stronger way.

Tru Talent: If I was a customer with you what would my journey with you look like?

Lee: Typically we will start by auditing your website, current marketing channels and channels you are not using, along with competitor activity. This allows us to produce a prioritised action plan. Phase two then involves feeding in insights from real customers to help improve websites, marketing and or products/ services. Its here that we can really help our clients stand out from the crowd and dramatically increase their profits which we have done and have had the pleasure of seeing client’s grow and develop using this process.

Tru Talent: If you were to give advice to someone starting up a new business with a digital platform what would it be?

Lee: Before you invest, make sure there is a need for it. Often we see tech first and humans second. If you focus on people’s needs and can do this better than the competition, then you have a chance of success. Even then it’s not easy, it requires focus and often big pots of cash. This is where investment is often required and that’s why we are now helping clients by providing investment decks to help secure funding. Our investment decks are unique as we validate the customer need within this process. This gives everyone confidence that the idea/ business will work.

Tru Talent: As a business owner what would you say to a young person looking to get into UX or digital marketing?

Lee: Digital/ tech is the unknown frontier, it is there to be explored and pushed. So don’t be fenced in by existing practises, push boundaries and challenge thinking. Also with UX don’t assume you know the answers, test, research and repeat this process again, again and again. Markets, people, competitors are always changing, so you need insights to be able to stay ahead of the game. You may have heard the saying that if a business is not growing its dying. Well I don’t think that is true. I would say if a business is not constantly evolving it will die. So focus on keeping your brand relevant and you will be rewarded. If anyone is ever looking to get into digital/ UX point them our way. Always happy to grab a coffee with people who need some guidance and to show them the realities of our day to day lives. Its not all cool tech and creative wizardry. The day to day can be formulaic, involve lots of number crunching (which I love but others don’t), managing clients and admin. But those moments when you uncover a real nugget of insight that you know could be a game changer. for a sector or for a client. The hard work is worth it.

Looking for help to build awareness, traffic and conversions to your website? Find out more about Insightful UX.

At Tru Talent we are truly lucky to be immersed within a community of experts. Each individual has their own talent, opinion and knowledge. We decided that instead of writing what we thought of the world and the industries we all work in, why don’t we ask them?

 

This has part of our series of Q&A style articles that we hope will inspire you, educate you, and or empower you. 

We had a chat with Hayley O’Shea the Marketing Manager at Talbot Heath School, we picked up on a few things, about starting a career in a new industry and how the marketing world has changed in her eyes.

 

Tru Talent: What is your name and your role?

Hayley: Hayley O’Shea, Marketing Manager of Talbot Heath School.

Tru Talent: How has your role changed over the past five years? Has the marketing world changed?

Hayley: I’ve got busier! I’ve had to learn new skills to keep up with the digital trends in marketing. The marketing world has changed in the last 5 years but incrementally, the big changes happened 10 – 15 years ago when the internet took off and ‘traditional’ methods (although still worthy) were challenged.

Tru Talent: Education can be a particularly challenging area to market in, what challenges have you faced in your role at Talbot?

Hayley: We are in a very fortunate and unusual position, with waiting lists in many years. The only tricky area is recruiting boarders from overseas, when you are looking at an international market – the rest of the UK is your competition – our budget is not big enough to keep up with all the the bigger boarding schools. Luckily we are a day school with boarding not solely a boarding school, so we don’t rely on it.

Tru Talent: We want to inspire job seekers/those looking for something new that you can make your own path, can you explain a little bit about yours?

Hayley: You really can! If you work hard & are creative – people will notice and doors will open. My career started in graphic design at 16, I had no intention of working in education my career has evolved by being adaptable.

Tru Talent: Looking to the future what does it hold for you?

Hayley: Who knows! The great thing about my role here at Talbot Heath is that I do so many different things in many areas, we could introduce something new & exciting next year and I will be working on that! I’d love my job so I think I will be here for the foreseeable.

Tru Talent: If you were to give some advice to someone that wants to make the jump to a new career or carve their own what would you say?

Hayley: Do what you love, love what you do. That way positivity and enthusiasm comes easy! If you are going to work for someone else, make sure you believe in them and their company ethos.

At Tru Talent, we are truly lucky to be immersed within a community of experts. Each individual has their own talent, opinion and knowledge. We decided that instead of writing what we thought of the world and the industries we all work in, why don’t we ask them?

 

 

This has part of our series of Q&A style articles that we hope will inspire you, educate you, and or empower you. 

We had a chat with Rebecca Pearl a freelance copywriter. Here we pick up on a few things; messaging, re-branding and being consistent with your content.

 

 

 

Tru Talent: What is your name and role?

Rebecca: Rebecca Perl, Director of Messagelab Communications Ltd.

 

Tru Talent: How long have you been a copywriter for and how did you get into it?

Rebecca: I’ve been a professional writer for 16 years. I started my career as a journalist in Munich, then moved into university comms back in the UK. I started copy-writing seven years ago. It’s the perfect culmination of my previous writing experience and my creative writing degrees.

 

Tru Talent: What kind of clients do you work with?

Rebecca: I choose not to be a specialist copywriter, because I love working with a broad array of clients. I’ve written for universities, global charities, tech start-ups, the automotive industry, financial companies and local businesses. I’ve written about dairy farms, cathedrals, mouth guards, scientific breakthroughs, yoga poses, lawns, divorce, mapping software, tea trays…it’s nothing if not varied! I have to become an expert in whatever I’m writing about at the time, and then it’s onto the next thing.

 

Tru Talent: How did you find moving to Bournemouth and starting your business here? Did you find the community/networking groups helpful?

Rebecca: Bournemouth has been nothing but brilliant to me. I quickly built up a bank of local clients, first from a networking group I attended and then through recommendations. I’m still working with some of those clients now, seven years on.

 

Tru Talent: How has the industry of copy-writing changed with the incredibly fast rise in digital? Have you had to adapt in style and format?

Rebecca: I am doing more and more digital copy-writing – websites, apps, email marketing, blogs, etc. I think that’s true of many copywriters as there is more emphasis on digital and less on print. I have to adapt my style for each job I take on whatever the format, so digital hasn’t really come as a big shock. I just have to make sure that I continue to learn and evolve and not get left behind. This isn’t too difficult; copywriters are naturally curious* people.  *nosey

 

Tru Talent: If you were to give some advice to someone getting into journalism/copy-writing what would it be?

Rebecca: Work hard. Read, read and read some more. It’s the best way to learn and perfect your craft. Get out there and meet people and make your own opportunities.

Trying to be everything to everyone does not work anymore and sometimes the service and skill that we would normally deliver in our niche can be affected by the fact that we are trying to provide services that we do not have the expertise for.

 

Could having the right working culture influence the positive growth within businesses and encourage collaboration across the community? Surely that way everyone gets to play to their strengths, and everybody benefits? Most importantly the end users/customers/clients.

We had a chat with Marcus Wincott Marketing Manager at Media Lounge and Chapter Director of Startup Grind Bournemouth all about driving collaboration and where e-commerce fits into that concept.

We will delve into the ideas surrounding nurturing a company culture, owning your ‘own space’ in the market and how you then use the power of social media to back this all up.

The future is bright for collaboration and ecommerce, let’s delve into it with Marcus.

 

Culture – Let The Team Do The Talking

 

We see this word A LOT. As Marcus quite rightly says “I think some people think if you get a ping pong table and some funky wall graphics that’s all you need, that’s your culture nailed, you’ve smashed it.” Perceptions are short lived, your beer fridge isn’t going to help you when your staff are all overworked and unhappy and as a result, the work your agency does is suffering. Culture by definition means “a way of life” not a few fun gimmicks that you can throw in to appear to have an understanding of what people / employees nowadays are looking to get from the work they do.

Your Instagram stories may tell the world one thing, but the hours your staff work can paint an entirely different picture. This can be downfall a for your workforce, leaving them feeling exhausted. Marcus stresses that there can be a change, we just need to move away from rigidness and outdated ideals.  “There was this meritocracy [at a previous agency] applied to staying late, but at Media Lounge we actively encourage staff not to work late because ultimately you have to get the work life balance right and we’re probably not managing our workload properly if we feel we have to work late. Also, you just shouldn’t – it’s not healthy.”

This will look different in every company, but making a culture successful and a team work together is about playing to individual strengths  “When meeting with my team about direction and strategy, I’ll have my own ideas for content and advertising budget and stuff, but I won’t have it formulated because everything has to be discussed with my team because they have to deliver it. I don’t force ideas upon them, but instead let them steer the strategy, change the way they work and be flexible in order to achieve our goals.”

 

How Do We Want To Work, Really Though? 

 

More and more of us are now talking about a better work life balance and having a more Holistic approach to this. However is it really achievable to implement flexible working on a large scale and can every business achieve it?

Marcus sees some positives and negatives in this approach. “Some of the best work we do is when we are all in a room together talking about a project and chipping in which you can’t do if you’re all remote. But for some tech businesses, remote staff works better, some of which don’t even have a HQ.”

Or maybe it needs to be an overhaul about how we work and spend our hours working. “I get it, I think it could be more about bits of remote working, side hustles, and people generally working less hours in a normal job so they have time for all the rest.”

 

 

“I think people still want a baseline salary but increasingly, they also want the flexibility to run a side hustle or a meet up group or something else that they’re passionate about.”

 

 

If we’re going to take this collaborative approach to the next level, maybe this is where we turn to next, where our teams work less hours and pursue passions outside of their 9-5. Could this make for a happier more productive workforce despite less hours in the office? Marcus certainly feels the benefit of this mutual trust between him and his employer and is able to watch his side hustle grow. He is the Chapter Director of Startup Grind Bournemouth which is a series of events for local Entrepreneurs, “Our commitment to the global Startup Grind brand was that we would hold an event every month and since September 2018 we’ve done that. Our only goal is to educate inspire and connect entrepreneurs in our local area to make the startup journey, a less lonely and scary one.”

 

Collaboration In Our Communities 

 

As our community opens up more, and we nurture and support each other’s ideas and smaller business plans, our guards lower and ‘competition’ suddenly becomes less of a threat.

After a few years in London, Marcus reflected on his return to Bournemouth and his surprise at the change. “The extremely active and open meet up an event scene here, just would never have happened 10 years ago. I think the collaborative nature of the digital community here has grown, and it’s because everyone is less guarded now.”

“When I came back from London there was still some of those big names knocking about like BBD, Adido, RedWeb but they were very different, they looked different. They have got their niche and the thing they do and nobody these days claims to do everything.”

The term ‘jack of all trades’ comes to mind but people are not fooled by this anymore. There is a place for’ say yes and learn how to do it when you get there’ but as a strategy this has been proven to fail and these failures do not go unnoticed.

Marcus went on to say that often Media Lounge liaise with agencies that offer similar services, because they know what they’re good at and when a project comes up, if they know they can’t give their 100% they’ll pass it on to the right person or business that can.

“Now times gone on, there is somewhat of a karmic feel to things where kindness and support come back around.”

“The most important thing should be the outcome for the client. Holistically it creates a much better idea of trust.”

 

Online Community And Buying From Those You Trust

 

When we’re pitching to our clients, trust is a key factor in conversion. As we’ve seen the rise in Social Media, Instagram particularly, the term ‘influencers’ is now part of our everyday lingo.

A new feature is on the horizon which we believe could change the face of communities online, making them more authentic. It also opens up the spectrum for the side hustle that is micro influencing.

Individuals within these smaller online communities are now going to be able to purchase directly from their favoured micro influencers posts on Instagram “They are now taking it a step further, so you can now purchase in app. That’s powerful. I think it will make the whole influencer trend more accountable and so-called influencers will have the opportunity to prove the ‘influence’ they have over their communities. Or not.” It’s no surprise that one person having millions of followers and getting paid to post a picture of themselves with a dietary supplement milkshake was going to be short lived. Just like that of a business with a transparent culture, we can see straight through it.

We are hoping this will lead to the rise of powerful and influential micro influencers who are passionate about what they do and have niche, but loyal following. This in turn can be an individual’s side hustle and will help to grow collaboration within our online and offline communities.

At Tru Talent we are truly lucky to be immersed within a community of experts. Each individual has their own talent, opinion and knowledge. We decided that instead of writing what we thought of the world and the industries we all work in, why don’t we ask them?

This has part of our series of Q&A style articles that we hope will inspire you, educate you, and or empower you. 

We spoke with Matt Desmier the Branding Chap who also speaks at conferences and events across the UK and beyond. Here we pick up on a few things; messaging, re-branding and being consistent with your content.

 

Tru Talent: Branding is crucial to the success of a business, it changes the way that customers engage with the company and whether they want to stick around. With this of course comes the task of creating a loyal audience that want to be a part of your brand on an ongoing basis. What brands do you think have got this right and what is the pinching point that made them work so successfully?

 

Matt: The thing with brands — or branding — is that it is a constantly evolving thing. Brands that might be getting it right, right now, may soon get it wrong. Audiences have changed. We’re a fickle bunch. There was a time that once a brand earnt your loyalty, you hung on in there through thick and thin. The same can’t be said anymore. The ones that are getting it right have learnt that it’s a careful balancing act of people and product, promise and purpose, and process and principles.

Globally, right now Nike are leaps and bounds ahead of anyone else. Locally, Jimmy’s Iced Coffee are still killing it.

 

Tru Talent: If a company is looking to ‘re-brand and reinvent itself’ is there any really handy tips or tricks you would suggest before they dive in head first (without giving too much away of course!)?

 

Matt: There’s a process. It’s not rocket science, or even a secret. And it’s not the logo. The logo is the final piece of the puzzle. It’s starts with the product – is it right, is it different, does it work, could it be better? Then look at the people, inside and out, who works there, who buys from you and why? Why do they work there and why do they buy from you? Then you need to think about the purpose, the promise, the processes and the principles…

Your company brand is the point at which the identity you portray, meets the image your audience receives and the reality their experience. You can’t reinvent it, you can only help steer the narrative and to do that you need to know who all the protagonists are.

 

Tru Talent: Messaging is often the tricky bit that companies get really right or really wrong. When you are talking about your company or even you as an individual on your own CV or LinkedIn is there anything in particular that you should keep in mind? How important is consistency with this messaging and is that difficult to keep up?

 

Matt: When it comes to messaging, authenticity and integrity are way more important than consistency. Companies who understand their position, find it easy to be authentic with their messaging. And companies who operate with integrity don’t need to think about consistency because it’s imbued in everything they do.

 

Tru Talent: Outwardly a brand might be bang on, but how do brands make their staff and internal operations live and breathe that brand?

 

Matt: The staff and internal operations ARE the brand. The outward expression of the company brand, the identity, is only half of the story. In fact it’s less than half. A logo is easy. A pithy, well-articulated purpose isn’t too hard to conjure up. But an authentic, well-articulated purpose, delivered with integrity and demonstrated across every experience an audience engages with, is much harder. But should always be the aim.

 

Tru Talent: As an individual looking for a new job what are the tell-tale signs that you would/wouldn’t fit within that particular brand/company that you are going to interview for?

 

Matt: Do your research. We’ve all got a multitude of tools at our disposal, Google, LinkedIn, Glassdoor, friends, family and acquaintances… It’s not that hard to find out whether a businesses’ values meet yours.

 

Tru Talent: Over time we have slowly become a society of wanting to be individual and unique rather than all wanting to buy, wear and show off the same things. Brands have had to adapt to this change in what an individual wants from them; they want to build their own personality rather than just being/wearing the logo. What techniques have brands had to adapt and develop to keep up with this new culture? And do you think that brands have had to relook and assess their companies’ culture and messaging to be able to adopt this new way of appealing to their audiences?

 

Matt: I’m not sure that opening statement is true. The world of luxury doesn’t appear to have suffered too much from societies desire to be seen as individuals. Chloe, Dior, Louis Vuitton, Louboutin, Rolex, Gucci, Ferrari, Porsche… these are still brands people aspire to own and be seen to own. The purpose-driven likes of TOMS and Patagonia have an army of fans who all proudly wear their goods. And with the recent Kaepernick campaign and their support of Serena Williams, Nike have a new legion of obsessives who are keen to be associated with the brand.

That being said, as I said previously, branding is an ever evolving thing. Brands need to be aware that their every move is under scrutiny, that what they do is easily replicable; so it’s super important to have a point of differentiation. That might be why a brand does something. It might be how a brand does something. It’s most likely a mixture of the product, the people, the promise, the purpose, the process and the principles.

 

A huge thank you to Matt for answering all our questions. You can connect or chat with him about branding on LinkedIn.